Ranking the 50 greatest Vancouver Canucks players of all-time

Oct 1 2020, 7:00 am

The Vancouver Canucks celebrated their 50th anniversary this past season, but the franchise doesn’t actually turn 50 years old until this month.

The Canucks played their first-ever game in the NHL 50 years ago, on October 9, 1970 at the Pacific Coliseum.

The team has seen a lot in 50 years, including three trips to the Stanley Cup Final. The Canucks made the playoffs for the first time in 1975, as winners of the Smythe Division. They didn’t win a playoff round until 1982, when they made a surprise trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time.

Vancouver didn’t have much sustained success on the ice until Pat Quinn’s teams in the 1990s, which saw the Canucks win playoff rounds in four consecutive seasons, which is a franchise record.

The Canucks have had two distinctive eras of success since then, the West Coast Express, which made four consecutive trips to the playoffs in the early 2000s, and the Sedin-led Canucks, which qualifies as the golden age of this franchise.

You’ll find the list of top players in franchise history reflects those eras strongly.

To put together this list of top 50 players, we took everything into account; so long as it came in a Canucks uniform.

Longevity counts, but it’s not everything — one 50-goal season can be worth more than five 10-goal seasons, for instance.

Points matter, but they’re weighted given the era they were compiled in — it was easier to rack up points in the 1980s than the early 2000s — so that’s taken into account.

We’ve noted the career Canucks statistics for each player from the regular season, but playoff success is weighted heavily too.

There is a games played cut off though. In order to be considered, skaters need to have played at least 200 regular season games in a Canucks uniform — we’ll call it the Christian Ehrhoff rule.

That means players like Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and Brock Boeser aren’t on this list, though they surely will some day, barring trade or injury.

The games played minimum is lower for goalies — the Cory Schneider rule — set at 120 games.

These are the greatest 50 players in Canucks history:

50. Dan Cloutier

Stats: 208 GP, 109 W

Fans remember playoff disappointment and a Nicklas Lidstrom goal from centre ice, but Dan Cloutier ranks fourth of all-time in Canucks history, in wins. His best season came in 2003-04, posting a .914 save percentage in 60 regular season games. He won the Molson Cup award after being named one of the three stars the most times of any Canucks player.

49. Ryan Miller

Stats: 150 GP, 64 W

Ryan Miller had a tough act to follow, but was a consummate pro for some terrible Canucks teams, posting a .914 save percentage in 150 games. He was a Molson Cup winner in both 2015 and 2017.

48. Chris Oddleifson

Stats: 469 GP, 265 PTS

One of the lesser-known captains in team history, Chris Oddleifson had an underrated Canucks career. He ranks 27th of all-time on the franchise points list.

47. Curt Fraser

Stats: 348 GP, 205 PTS

Curt Fraser could score and fight, doing both effectively for five seasons in Vancouver. His best season came in 1981-82, when he scored 28 goals and added 175 penalty minutes.

46. Martin Gelinas

Stats: 258 GP, 171 PTS

A smart waiver claim by GM Pat Quinn in 1994, Martin Gelinas spent parts of five seasons with the Canucks in the mid-1990s. Gelinas had back-to-back 30+ goal seasons in Vancouver, and was named team MVP in 1996-97 when he led the Canucks with 35 goals.

45. Jannik Hansen

Stats: 565 GP, 235 PTS

Playing parts of 11 seasons with the Canucks, Jannik Hansen became an excellent two-way player after being selected in the ninth round of the 2004 NHL Draft. He was named the team’s “unsung hero” three times and was named “most exciting player” once.

44. Rick Lanz

Stats: 417 GP, 277 PTS

Had talented Czech defenceman Rick Lanz not been injured during the Canucks’ run to the Cup Final in 1982, he might have been remembered more fondly. He ranks ninth of all-time on the franchise defenceman scoring list and was named best defenceman for the team in 1984.

43. Kevin McCarthy

Stats: 352 GP, 199 PTS

Another player that missed the 1982 Stanley Cup run due to injury, former captain Kevin McCarthy posted four straight 40+ point seasons in those ugly flying “V” jerseys. He was named best defenceman on the team in 1981, and played in the NHL All-Star Game that year too.

42. Gary Smith

Stats: 188 GP, 72 W

Gary “Suitcase” Smith ranks sixth all-time in Canucks wins, and was brilliant in goal for Vancouver in 1975, when he finished sixth in Hart Trophy voting, behind a list of Hall of Famers. The Canucks goalie played 72 games that year, backstopping the team to its first ever playoff appearance.

41. Ivan Boldirev

Stats: 216 GP 184 PTS

A valuable member of the Canucks team that went to the 1982 Stanley Cup Final, Ivan Boldirev finished behind only Thomas Gradin and Stan Smyl in scoring that year, with 73 points in 78 regular season games before adding 11 points in 17 playoff games.

40. Harold Snepsts

Stats: 781 GP, 195 PTS

Equipped with the most legendary moustache in franchise history, Harold Snepsts was a tough, stay-at-home defenceman for 12 seasons in Vancouver. Snepsts is eighth of all-time in games played by a Canuck and was one of their most reliable defencemen in the late 70s and early 80s.

39. Orland Kurtenbach

Stats: 229 GP, 163 PTS

The first captain in franchise history, Orland Kurtenbach finished seventh in Hart Trophy voting during the Canucks’ inaugural season after scoring 53 points in 52 games. He was the team’s MVP in each of their first three seasons.

38. Dave Babych

Stats: 409 GP, 154 PTS

A tough as nails defenceman, Dave Babych, was a grizzled veteran with offensive pedigree when he joined the Canucks in 1991. He played seven seasons in Vancouver, and ranks fourth of all-time in franchise history for playoff points by a defenceman.

37. Darcy Rota

Stats: 289 GP 236 PTS

A consistent scorer, Darcy Rota scored 20+ goals in four straight seasons, including a career-high 42 goals in 1982-83. He also finished fourth in goals on the team during their run to the 1982 Stanley Cup Final.

36. Dennis Ververgaert

Stats: 409 GP, 304 PTS

A third overall draft pick by the Canucks in 1973, Dennis Ververgaert’s best season came in 1975-76 when he led the team in goals (37) and points (71). He was the Canucks’ representative at the NHL All-Star Game in 1976 and 1978.

35. Chris Tanev

Stats: 514 GP, 118 PTS

A modern defensive defenceman, Chris Tanev can move the puck and will block a shot with his face if he has to. He was named the team’s best blueliner in 2015 and has been a valuable penalty killer throughout his career.

34. Jacob Markstrom

Stats: 229 GP, 99 W

It took some time to find his stride, but Jacob Markstrom has now established himself as one of the top goalies in the NHL. A two-time team MVP winner, the towering Swede has established himself as one of the best goalies in the NHL, finishing fourth in Vezina Trophy voting in 2020.

33. Doug Lidster

Stats: 666 GP, 307 PTS

Ranking fifth of all-time in Canucks defenceman scoring, Doug Lidster posted the highest-scoring season ever by a Vancouver blueliner with 63 points in 80 games from 1986-87. He was named best defenceman on the team four times during his time in Vancouver.

32. Bo Horvat

Stats: 446 GP, 275 PTS

Current Canucks captain Bo Horvat has posted five straight 40+ point seasons, and four straight 20+ goal seasons. He has produced at an even higher rate in the playoffs, scoring 16 points in 23 career postseason games.

31. Richard Brodeur

Stats: 377 GP, 126 W

“King Richard” Brodeur was the biggest reason for the Canucks’ improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1982, and ranks third in all-time wins. He was also named team MVP on three occasions.

30. Petri Skriko

Stats: 472 GP, 373 PTS

One of the best players on bad Canucks teams in the late 80s, Petri Skriko scored more than 30 goals in four straight seasons and ranks 16th of all-time in franchise scoring.

29. Geoff Courtnall

Stats: 292 GP, 246 PTS

One of the most clutch goal scorers in franchise history, Geoff Courtnall ranks fifth in playoff points and third in playoff goals.

28. Patrik Sundstrom

Stats: 374 GP, 342 PTS

Patrik Sundstrom is one of just seven players in franchise history to score 90 points in a season, when he tallied 91 points in the 1983-84 season. He ranks 18th on the all-time Canucks scoring list.

27. Dan Hamhuis

Stats: 389 GP, 142 PTS

The most reliable blueliner on the 2011 Stanley Cup finalist team, Dan Hamhuis was a puck-moving, shutdown defenceman with the Canucks for six seasons.

26. Sami Salo

Stats: 566 GP, 236 PTS

Known for his big shot, Sami Salo is the Canucks’ all-time leader in defencemen power play goals (48), game-winning goals (20), and overtime goals (7), but he was also underrated for the job he did defensively.

25. Kevin Bieksa

Stats: 597 GP, 241 PTS

A fan favourite, Kevin Bieksa played 10 seasons in Vancouver and scored one of the most memorable goals for the Canucks in 2011. He ranks sixth in all-time franchise scoring by a defenceman.

24. Brendan Morrison

Stats: 543 GP, 393 PTS

The middle man between Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi for multiple seasons, Brendan Morrison is tied with Ryan Kesler for 12th in all-time franchise scoring.

23. Don Lever

Stats: 593 GP, 407 PTS

When Don Lever was traded by the Canucks to the Atlanta Flames in 1980, he left Vancouver as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. He now ranks 10th of all-time after eight consistent seasons for the 1970s Canucks.

22. Ed Jovanovski

Stats: 434 GP, 234 PTS

Ranking eighth of all-time in Canucks defencemen scoring, Ed Jovanovski is one of the most exciting blueliners ever to suit up for the franchise. “Jovo Cop” played in three All-Star Games while a member of the Canucks, and finished in sixth-place in back-to-back seasons while in Vancouver.

21. Andre Boudrias

Stats: 458 GP, 388 PTS

The team’s leading scorer in four of the Canucks’ first five seasons in the NHL, Andre Boudrias ranks 14th on the franchise’s all-time scoring list and ninth in assists. Only the Sedins have put up higher single-season assist totals overtaking his 62 helpers in 1974-75, which helped lead the Canucks to their first-ever playoff appearance.

20. Dennis Kearns

Stats: 677 GP, 321 PTS

One of the best defencemen in Canucks history, Dennis Kearns, ranks third all-time in scoring by a Vancouver blueliner and has a higher points per game average than the players ahead of him. He still owns the single-season record for assists by a defenceman, with 55 in 1976-77.

19. Tony Tanti

Stats: 531 GP, 470 PTS

He set the Canucks’ single-season goals record in 1983-84 with 45, a mark that has only been eclipsed by Pavel Bure, Alex Mogilny, Markus Naslund, and Todd Bertuzzi since. Though he played on mostly bad Canucks teams in the 1980s, Tanti still ranks sixth in all-time goals and eighth in points.

18. Greg Adams

Stats: 489 GP, 369 PTS

A power forward that had the ability to score big when the games mattered most, Greg Adams surpassed the 30 goal mark three times in eight years with the Canucks. He was a key contributor during Vancouver’s run to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, scoring two overtime goals — one knocked out the Maple Leafs and the other gave the Canucks a 1-0 series lead — in the Stanley Cup Final.

17. Cliff Ronning

Stats: 366 GP, 328 PTS

Ranking sixth all-time in Canucks playoff scoring, Cliff Ronning’s heart was bigger than his 5-foot-8 stature. Ronning is tied for fourth in team history for points per game (0.90), for players with at least 200 regular season games with the Canucks.

16. Alex Mogilny

Stats: 312 GP, 308 PTS

Though he didn’t enjoy the team success with the Canucks that he would have liked, it’s hard to argue with Alex Mogilny’s terrific point production in Vancouver. He’s one of only five players in team history to score more than 100 points in a season, and just two to score more than 50 goals.

15. Alex Burrows

Stats: 822 GP, 384 PTS

A minor-league checker who learned how to become a goal-scorer, Alex Burrows was the best linemate the Sedins ever had. He’s well-known for scoring arguably the biggest goal in franchise history during the Canucks’ run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, but he was also an elite defensive winger and penalty killer for much of his career.

14. Jyrki Lumme

Stats: 579 GP, 321 PTS

The Canucks’ all-time leading playoff scorer among defencemen, Jyrki Lumme was a key member of the Canucks’ blue line in the 1990s, helping the team get to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994. The Finnish rearguard scored a career-high 17 goals and 54 points for the Canucks in 1995-96, and was named best defenceman on the team four times.

13. Mattias Ohlund

Stats: 770 GP, 325 PTS

Arguably the best defenceman in Canucks history, Mattias Ohlund was a tower of strength on the Canucks blue line during the West Coast Express era, but could chip in offence too. He was the team’s all-time leading scorer by a defenceman until Alex Edler broke his record.

12. Alex Edler

Stats: 873 GP, 401 PTS

Nobody has played more games, scored more goals, compiled more assists, or has more points among Canucks defencemen than Alex Edler. The career-Canuck has averaged over 23 minutes per game throughout his career, playing in all situations.

11. Thomas Gradin

Stats: 613 GP, 550 PTS

The leading scorer in both the regular season and playoffs for the Canucks team that went to the Final in 1982, Thomas Gradin still ranks sixth of all-time in franchise scoring. The skilled centreman was remarkably consistent in eight seasons with the Canucks.

10. Stan Smyl

Stats: 896 GP, 673 PTS

A heart and soul player, Stan Smyl retired in 1991 as the team’s all-time leading scorer and was the first player in Canucks history to get his jersey retired. He now ranks fifth on the all-time scoring list, and was named team MVP three times.

9. Todd Bertuzzi

Stats: 518 GP, 449 PTS

The most feared power forward in hockey at one time, Todd Bertuzzi ranks ninth of all-time in Canucks scoring. His 46-goal, 97-point season in 2002-03 was one of the most impressive seasons ever by a Canucks player.

8. Ryan Kesler

Stats: 655 GP, 393 PTS

Ryan Kesler broke the 70-point plateau twice and the 40-goal mark once, but his value to the Canucks went well beyond goals and assists. The only Selke Trophy winner in team history, Kesler was a beast for the Canucks in all situations.

7. Kirk McLean

Stats: 516 GP, 211 W

A Vezina Trophy finalist twice in his career, Kirk McLean was the Canucks’ No. 1 goalie for 10 seasons. McLean was never better than during the Canucks’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994, and was in the running for the Conn Smythe Trophy had Vancouver won Game 7 against the Rangers.

6. Roberto Luongo

Stats: 448 GP, 242 W

The greatest goalie in franchise history, Roberto Luongo is the only superstar to play between the pipes for the Canucks. Luongo was a Hart Trophy runner up in 2007, and probably deserved the Vezina Trophy that year too. He was consistently viewed as one of the best goalies in the league during his time in Vancouver, and nearly brought home a Stanley Cup in 2011.

5. Markus Naslund

Stats: 884 GP, 756 PTS

The Canucks’ leading scorer for a franchise-record seven seasons in a row, Markus Naslund was a prolific goal-scorer. He was an NHL First Team All-Star three times and won the Pearson Trophy in 2003, as the most outstanding player in the league as voted by his peers.

4. Trevor Linden

Stats: 1140 GP, 733 PTS

Arguably the most popular player in Canucks history, Trevor Linden ranks third all-time in goals and assists, and fourth in points. But where Linden stands alone is atop the franchise’s all-time playoff scoring list, with 95 points in 118 career playoff games — 17 points better than second place.

3. Pavel Bure

Stats: 428 GP, 478 PTS

The most electrifying player in team history, Pavel Bure is also the best goal scorer the Canucks has ever had. He surpassed the 50-goal mark three times in Vancouver, including two 60-goal campaigns.

Bure was clutch come playoff time too, and currently holds the highest points-per-game average (1.10, minimum 10 games) in Canucks playoff history. His 16-goal, 31-point playoff performance in 1994 still holds up as the best playoff production in a single postseason in Canucks history.

2. Daniel Sedin

Stats: 1306 GP, 1041 PTS

What the Sedins were able to do in Vancouver is unmatched, so it only stands to reason they take up the top two spots on this list. Slotting in second is Daniel Sedin, who holds the all-time franchise goal record, and sits second only to his brother in points, assists, and plus-minus.

Daniel surpassed the 20-goal mark a remarkable 11 times during his career, including a career-high 41 goals in 2010-11, when he won the Ted Lindsay Award as the most outstanding player in the NHL by his peers.

1. Henrik Sedin

Stats: 1330 GP, 1070 PTS

The only player in Canucks history to win the Hart Trophy, no other player has left a more lasting mark on the franchise than Henrik Sedin. He and his brother reimagined the game, playing it unlike anyone else in league history, with elite intelligence, craftiness, and playmaking.

Henrik holds the team record for all-time points, assists, and plus-minus, and is second all-time in playoff points. His 112-point season in 2009-10 is a franchise record, as is his 83-assist mark.

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